Would Biden deal ‘stop the war,’ or (as Netanyahu’s office says) ‘enable Israel to continue the war’?

Would Biden deal ‘stop the war,’ or (as Netanyahu’s office says) ‘enable Israel to continue the war’?

Politico reports:

“The deal does stop the war,” said a senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the situation on condition of anonymity. The official added: “What’s on the table now is very close to the deal Hamas said they would take” in earlier negotiations.

Hamas rejected previous cease-fire deals, as they didn’t offer a pathway to end the war for good.

The first phase of the three-phase deal would last six weeks and include a “complete” cease-fire, a withdrawal of Israel forces from all populated areas in the Gaza Strip, the exchange of a number of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, and the return of the bodies of Israelis killed by Hamas, Biden said.

Palestinian civilians would also be allowed to return to their homes across the enclave, and humanitarian assistance would surge, with 600 trucks carrying aid into Gaza daily, he said. Hundreds of thousands of temporary shelters would also be delivered.

“All that and more would begin immediately,” he said. After the fighting ends, Biden said the U.S. would work with partners to rebuild homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza and repair communities that were destroyed.

In a statement after Biden’s speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed that there’s a deal on the table with Hamas but appeared to leave the door open to continuing Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

The proposal would “enable Israel to continue the war until all its objectives are achieved, including the destruction of Hamas’ military and governing capabilities,” the statement said. “The actual proposal put forward by Israel, including the conditional transition from one phase to the next, allows Israel to uphold these principles.” [Continue reading…]

The Times of Israel reports:

Hamas said in a statement that it was ready to reach “a complete agreement” with Israel, including for the release of all the hostages in exchange for Palestinian security prisoners, but will only do so if Israel “stops its war and aggression against people in Gaza.”

In his meeting with the hostages’ relatives, [National Security Adviser Tzachi] Hanegbi assured them that Israel would soon secure implementation of the deal’s first phase. “The first stage of the deal, the humanitarian phase, we will be able to achieve within a few short months. It won’t take many months and not years,” the transcripts leaked to Channel 12 quoted him as having said.

However, he added, “I don’t believe that this government will succeed in completing the entire deal. This government will not make a decision to stop the war for the return of all the hostages.”

“We have to keep fighting so that there won’t be another October 7 in October 2027,” Hanegbi said.

“If the hostages don’t return within weeks or a few short months, we have no alternate plan,” he acknowledged. “We will continue to fight in Gaza and in the north, and only then will we reassess.”

In response, one of the participants reportedly said, “Well, then we’re lost.”

Hanegbi replied, “That’s correct.”

According to the leaked quotes from the meeting, one of the participants went on to raise recent reports that public funds had been allocated for the renovation of the swimming pool in Prime Minister Benjamim Netanyahu’s private home, saying such spending should not be made in the middle of the war.

Hanegbi, a long-time close aide to the prime minister, didn’t take the remark well. “He can build 10 pools with his money if he wants. What an abhorrent thing to say,” he reportedly shot back, adding that this was not the right forum to raise such qualms and accusing the woman of exuding hatred.

The relative responded: “I have every right to feel pain and hate because I was in the safe room [of my home] for 15 hours [during the Hamas onslaught]. I fled from the terrorists and had to step on dead bodies. You didn’t.”

To which Hanegbi reportedly responded, “Okay, go ahead then. Curse me.” [Continue reading…]

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